Friday, March 31, 2017 - 2:00pm
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M-RCBG Conference Room, Belfer 503, HKS, 79 JFK St., Cambridge

Climate Change Financing and the Energy Sector

An HKS study group session led by M-RCBG senior fellow Farrukh Khan with guest Prof. Steven Ferrey of Suffolk University Law School.

As part of our research work on “Sustainable Development Financing and Investment Options and Tools to Implement National Climate Actions Plans,” for the March 31 Study Group hosted by Harvard’s M-RCBG, Mr. Khan will have the pleasure of inviting Professor Steven Ferrey from Suffolk University Law School for a discussion on how addressing emissions from the electric power industry is vital to managing the risk of climate change. To this end, the study group session will cover:

  • The contribution of the power sector to global emissions;
  • The broad trends in the developing and the developing countries’ energy sectors. Within this, questions include: What sources are being utilized? Is there a tangible shift towards renewable sources to generate power? What factors are at play in determining this shift?
  • What are the best practices and lessons learnt in financing mitigation efforts from the existing and new power infrastructures? How are countries utilizing available public and private instruments to finance new infrastructures?
  • How deals are created to procure financing in developing countries for sectors such as energy and forestry, with an emphasis on large-scale projects.
  • How to incentivize private and public financing in developing countries, including innovative mechanisms in climate finance — e.g. blended capital funds, public-private partnerships, national funding entities.

The importance of power capital decisions now will lock-in long-term consequences; power generation technology is among the longest-lived national infrastructure investments. In addition, this sector is an economic and social lynchpin. At a moment in history when we have zero time remaining before the exceeding the “tipping point” for global climate stability, questions about which nations will finance what power development and how, administered by whom, have become contentious international issues.

This is the dilemma that we will address head-on in our March 31 Study Group led by Professor Ferrey. For the prior 25 years while teaching, he has devoted his non-classroom time leading efforts of the World Bank and U.N. agencies developing innovative models to address and finance power-sector legal, economic, and policy innovations in developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. His work this summer is in Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and the Pacific Rim islands. 

The discussion Steve will lead will cut across the disciplines of economics, business, engineering, finance, and law. Under his direction, we will explore how electric power is different from other energy sources, and the unique technical engineering challenges it creates, the options for power production in developing countries and the carbon impacts of each, the exponential growth in the demand for power in developing countries, and the policy and legal challenges of restructuring the regulatory systems in developing countries to accommodate a sustainable world future. In particular, he will discuss the regulatory models he developed and implemented in many countries over these 25 years international work, and how these models have become indispensable to any meaningful control over world climate change. In general, he’ll lead a discussion on risks, and how the world addresses the financial challenge of global warming.

Contact Name: 

Farrukh Khan

Research Areas: 

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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